Heath Hawkins new pastor at New Hope
Heath Hawkins, Caraway native, has returned to the area with his wife, Candace, and two sons as pastor of New Hope Baptist Church near Caraway.
Hawkins said he left the area to go to college at Hannibal-LaGrange Southern Baptist College in Hannibal, Mo., and thought he would return home after graduation. He graduated from Riverside High School in 1995 and college in 1999 with a degree in business education. He went on to earn a Master's Degree from Lindenwood University in St. Louis.
Hawkins taught business and computer classes in Central Missouri for 10 years.
New Hope is his first pastorate, but ministry has been a vital part of his family. Mrs. Hawkins has served in many capacities including Director of Children's Ministries and Worship Leader. Together they have worked in children and family ministry for several years. They are also Christian clowns, illusionists, face painters and balloon artists. They enjoy using drama, music and creative ideas to bring the scripture to life.
Mrs. Hawkins has a theater degree.
"Our faith is an extension of our breath," Hawkins said.
In 2008 Hawkins spent 10 days on a mission trip in Ghana, Africa working with Seed Ministries. He said it was about that time he knew God was calling him into the ministry.
He didn't know he would be called back to his hometown.
"I was exciting about coming back to Caraway to be around family," Hawkins said. "We are looking forward to seeing how the Lord can use us at New Hope."
Hawkins also accepted a teaching position at Manila Middle School. He is also looking forward to getting back in the classroom.
"The people at New Hope have welcomed us with open arms," Hawkins said. "It has been an overwhelming experience for us. Our passion is to reach out to young couples with children. We want to offer them something they can't find out in the world. The people here are willing to serve, share and love. We are excited to see how God will use us. At New Hope our aim and motto is to be Christ Centered, Family Focused, Reaching Out."
Hawkins and his family came to New Hope in June.
"We are off to a good start with over 100 kids enrolled in Vacation Bible School," Hawkins said. "We are looking forward to the future."